Henry Mahan Lessons in James Lesson 9

Lesson 9
James 3:9-18

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 9.) The human tongue is the instrument that is used in praising God for all his mercies in Christ, both in prayer and singing hymns. The tongue is used to thank God before meals, to speak of his glorious attributes and to join with other believers in worshipping the Lord. The human tongue is also the instrument that is used to curse, criticize, slander and speak harshly and hurtfully to men and women who were made by God in his own image.

(Vs. 10.) Some, by the grace of God, use their tongues to bless God! Some, whose tongues are untamed by grace, use their tongues to curse others and speak unkindly. Unfortunately, there are those who try to do both! With the same tongue they bless God, talk religion and profess holiness, while they also curse, criticize and speak evil of one another. "This, my brethren, is a contradiction." Not only is it wicked and sinful, but it is unnatural, unbecoming and unworthy of the Christian name.

(Vs. 11, 12.) These illustrations are given to show how ridiculous and absurd it is to think that a man may truly praise God and with the same tongue lie, curse and blaspheme, it cannot be done, any more than a fountain can yield both fresh and bitter water at the same time, or a fig tree can bear olives.

(Vs. 13.) "Who among you is a wise and intelligent person?" All of us like to think that we are wise and knowledgeable. Not one of us would consider himself a fool! If you would prove that you are spiritually wise and intelligent, let it be by your conduct and conversation. This is not a single act or two, but a course of living which is in keeping with the Word of God. It is the spirit of humility, peace and love (1 Tim. 6:11; Col. 3:12-15). Daily godliness, words seasoned with grace, an attitude of humility and love – these are evidences of spiritual wisdom.

(Vs. 14.) "But if you have bitter envy, jealousy, strife and contention in your hearts and from your mouths, do not glory in your so-called knowledge and wisdom, for it is a lie; it is contrary to the truth (1 Cor. 3:1.3; 1 John 2:9;4:20).

(Vs. 15, 16.) This superficial wisdom is not from God, but is of the earth, unspiritual and even devilish, You can be sure that when our attitude and words create strife, confusion and division among the brethren, when we speak from envy, bitterness and selfishness, it is not the wisdom of God. Where wise men worship there are love, mercy and peace. But where there are envy and strife, there will be "confusion and evil works" (Gal. 5:13.16). "Wisdom is justified and vindicated by her children and their deeds" (Matt. 11:19).

(Vs. 17.) "But the wisdom which is from God is:

(Vs. 18.) Where heavenly wisdom and love live and operate, the fruit of righteousness is enjoyed. Those who sow in peace usually reap a peaceful harvest. Love begets love. "He who would have friends must show himself friendly" (Provs. 18:24).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.